No money or gas to escape Ida: “We cannot afford to leave” | Voice of America


Robert Owens was defeated and felt helpless on Sunday as he waited to land in the Louisiana capital as one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the United States.

The 27-year-old has had anxious days as Hurricane Ida approached, seeing a long line of cars evacuating from Baton Rouge heading to a safer location outside the state. He wanted him and his wife, his mother-in-law, his roommates and four pets to be among them. But leaving would have required money to buy gasoline and hotel rooms, which they did not have.

Desperate, Owens went to ACE Cash Express on Saturday to submit his payday loan documents. He was rejected and said he did not have a sufficient credit history.

On Sunday, it was clear that they would survive the storm at home in his family’s double apartment.

“Our bank account is empty, we cannot afford to leave,” he said.

Owens said most of the people in his low-income neighborhoods are in the same situation. They want to leave to protect their families, but they have no choice but to stay.

“A lot of us in my neighborhood just have to look around and wait, not knowing how bad it will be. It’s a scary feeling,” he said.

“People with reliable money can get out of here, but there are a lot of low-income people who don’t have savings accounts,” he continued. “We are being left behind.”

At 9 p.m. Sunday night, Owens said his family and everyone else in his neighborhood had lost power. He said the transformer blew up the surroundings and the sky was glowing green. Several trees collapsed on my neighbor’s property, but it was too dark to see the full extent of the damage. Owens said he was trying to use a flashlight to explore the streets, but was concerned about threatening safety.

“I have never encountered anything this big in my life,” he said, with a huge gust slamming the windows of his house.

He said there were several times it looked like the roof of the duplex might come off. He said his wife was packing essential clothes and bags just in case.

“If I lose my house, I will evacuate to the car,” he said. The whole family shares their wife Toyota Avalon. It is a vehicle that is “not big enough” to protect four, three dogs and a cat.

Earlier today, Owens quickly put a towel under the leaky window in his duplex and said he was charging his electronics. He tried to go to Dollar General and Dollar Tree to get food, but they were closed. Her family sticks lights around the walls of the house. They planned to hide in the laundry room or kitchen when the storm hit – a place without windows.

“There is a general fear of not knowing what the consequences of this will be,” he said. “This is the biggest concern. For example, what are we going to do if it really gets worse? Are we still alive? Will the tree fall on us? ? ”

Owens said his stepmother had a disability. His two roommates work for Apple iOS technical support. His wife is considering donating blood. They all depend on the Internet to work from home, and without the Internet they cannot make any money.

“We may not have a job, and the rent, electricity, water and all those bills still have to be paid,” he said. “We don’t have money for the other bills, so we’re a little worried about losing our utilities and even our house – if it’s still standing -“.

He said it was hard to feel so vulnerable because his family was being left behind.

“The fact that we’re not above the middle class is like coming back and biting us over and over again in so many different directions and ways. Simple advance payment on salary. Is one of them, ”he said. “It is as if we are trying not to be poor, but we have to pay for what is poor.”

No money or gas to escape Ida: “We cannot afford to leave” | Voice of America

No money or gas to escape Ida: “We cannot afford to leave” | Voice of America


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